LII needs to rewrite its entry on legal writing
Form Cornell Law School's Legal Information Institute:
There are generally two types of legal writing. The first type requires a balanced analysis of a legal problem or issue. Examples of the first type are inter-office memoranda and letters to clients. To be effective in this form of writing, the lawyer must be sensitive to the needs, level of interest and background of the parties to whom it is addressed. A memorandum to a partner in the same firm that details definitions of basic legal concepts would be inefficient and an annoyance. In contrast, their absence from a letter to a client with no legal background could serve to confuse and complicate a simple situation.I don't care for this writing, and I hope you can see why. It bothers me all the more because it is about legal writing.
The second type of legal writing is persuasive. Examples of this type are appellate briefs and negotiation letters written on a clients behalf. The lawyer must persuade his or her audience without provoking a hostile response through disrespect or by wasting the recipient's time with unnecessary information. In presenting documents to a court or administrative agency he or she must conform to the required document style.
The drafting of legal documents, such as contracts and wills, is yet another type of legal writing. Guides are available to aid a lawyer in preparing the documents but a unique application of the "form" to the facts of the situation is often required. Poor drafting can lead to unnecessary litigation and otherwise injure the interests of a client.